Canada - Cultural Destinations

Canada - Cultural Destinations

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The province has a festival for nearly every subject and occasion, from the King's County Covered Bridge Festival, in honor of the county's 16 covered bridges, to the annual Chocolate Fest in St. Stephen, "Canada's Chocolate Town," to a variety of aboriginal festivals.

As with each of the seaside provinces, New Brunswick has lighthouses for visitors to explore—24 dot the coastline here—and guests will also enjoy farmers markets, artists' studios and public gardens.

Newfoundland and Labrador
An artistic spirit lives on in Newfoundland and Labrador, where large galleries and museums thrive like The Rooms in St. John's, which combines the Provincial Museum, the Provincial Art Gallery and the Provincial Archives. The Rooms, positioned on the site of Fort Townshend, a citadel built to protect British fishing interests, now houses exhibits highlighting area history and wildlife, as well as a gallery featuring rotating works and a permanent collection of some 7,000 pieces.

The area boasts hundreds of lighthouses, many still in operation and others that have been painstakingly restored to their original condition—for interested visitors, some have even been made into bed and breakfasts and restaurants. Perhaps the most famous is the Cape Spear Lighthouse, the oldest surviving example in the province built in 1836, which now offers visitors a perfect vantage point to glimpse whales, birds and icebergs.

Northwest Territories
The Northwest Territories is home to a range of skilled craftsmen, working on projects as varied as birchbark baskets make by Slavey women in Fort Liard; drums created using caribou rawhide; moosehair tufting, a form of embroidery honed by women in the Mackenzie Valley; and porcupine quillwork, a nearly lost art still practiced by some in this area who use dyed quills for decorative work.

For a peek into the past, visit The Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife, which boasts an impressive collection with the goal of preserving the culture and heritage of the local people. Permanent pieces in the Aviation Gallery and Feature Gallery—including the only known preserved moose skin boat—are supplemented with a variety of temporary exhibits on Northern art.

Nova Scotia
Pier 21 is a must-see for visitors to Halifax. More than 1.5 million immigrants came through this site between 1928 and 1971 and Pier 21 is now Canada's Immigration Museum, with a 5,000 square foot Harbourside Gallery for traveling exhibits, and the Scotiabank Research Centre, which maintains information on migration, nautical history, immigration patterns and ethnic groups, as well as oral histories and archival images.

With a 40-foot statue of Glooscap—considered by the aboriginal Mi'kmaq people to be the first human—in front of the Glooscap Heritage Centre in Truro, this stop will be a hard one to miss. The center features early stone tools, weavings, porcupine quillwork, traditional clothing and other artifacts that bring the Mi'kmaq history to life, as well as a multimedia presentation of the group's history and an audio exhibit that teaches visitors about the language and how to say a few words. For more on the Mi'kmaq, the Novia Scotia Museum's Mi'kmaq Portraits are a collection of more than 700 portraits and illustrations, which offer a look into history and heritage through images.

Should visitors find themselves in Nova Scotia in the fall, consider spending time at the Celtic Colours International Festival, a nine-day annual celebration of Celtic music and culture in Cape Breton. The festival plays host to some 40 concerts, 200 community events and a series of workshops and exhibitions.

The relatively new territory of Nunavut takes its history quite seriously and local festivals and sights meld heritage with contemporary fun. The Toonik Tyme festival, held in Iqaluit every April since 1965, marks the return of spring with a weeklong celebration including traditional Inuit activities as well as more modern pursuits such as snowmobile races and ice golf.

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